1158 - a bedraggled Marie, banished from Queen Eleanor's court, is now in England at a much maligned abbey. Poor, starving nuns. No resources.
Matrix by Lauren Groff is a weird little book with a very old flavor to it. Spare and yet rich - this book is a "defiant and timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world." (cover blurb)
Marie is an ungainly giantess of her day, no beauty, yet cunning, smart, resourceful. She is strong-willed and soon learns to manipulate what she can to get food, secure the abbey, conquer diseases, and use her faith and visions to instill strength. This book is not long and Groff leaps through the years -covering plagues, blight, and salvation.
p. 117 Without the first matrix (Eve, House of Death), there could be no salvatrix (Mary, House of Life), the greatest matrix of all.
p.177 There is a fine polish of near morning upon the abbey....
p.226 Collapse is the constant state of humanity...civilization after civilization foundering to dust, until the final death of the children of Eve with the apocalypse, the seven seals, the seven trumpets, the seven angels, the seven bowls.
I liked Marie, the various nuns - some cranky, some wily, some mad, and the style of Matrix. I almost felt I should be reading it on dusty old parchment while drinking from a chalice. Kudos to Lauren Groff.